'Trollope did not write for posterity, ' observed Henry James. 'He wrote for the day, the moment; but these are just the writers whom posterity is apt to put into its pocket.' Considered by contemporary critics to be Trollope's greatest novel, "The Way We Live Now" is a satire of the literary world of London in the 1870s and a bold indictment of the new power of speculative finance in English life. 'I was instigated by what I conceived to be the commercial profligacy of the age, ' Trollope said.
His story concerns Augustus Melmotte, a French swindler and scoundrel, and his daughter, to whom Felix Carbury, adored son of the authoress Lady Carbury, is induced to propose marriage for the sake of securing a fortune. Trollope knew well the difficulties of dealing with editors, publishers, reviewers, and the public; his portrait of Lady Carbury, impetuous, unprincipled, and unswervingly devoted to her own self-promotion, is one of his finest satirical achievements.
His picture of late-nineteenth-century England is a portrait of a society on the verge of moral bankruptcy. In "The Way We Live Now" Trollope combines his talents as a portraitist and his skills as a storyteller to give us life as it was lived more than a hundred years ago.
About the Author
Anthony Trollope was a Victorian-era English author best known for his satirical novel The Way We Live Now, a criticism of the greed and immorality he witnessed living in London. Trollope was employed as a postal surveyor in Ireland when he began to take up writing as a serious pursuit, publishing four novels on Irish subjects during his years there. In 1851 Trollope was travelling the English countryside for work when was inspired with the plot for The Warden, the first of six novels in what would become his famous The Chronicles of Barsetshire series. Trollope eventually settled in London and over the next thirty years published a prodigious body of work, including Barsetshire novels such as Barchester Towers and Doctor Thorne, as well as numerous other novels and short stories. Trollope died in London 1882 at the age of 67.
David Brooks writes a biweekly Op-Ed column for "The New York Times" and appears regularly on PBS's "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" and NPR's "All Things Considered." He lives in He lives in Bethesda, Maryland.
"The Way We Live Now is the essence of Trollope. If he had written no other novel, it would have ensured his immortality."